I am a big fan of any day that’s focus is food. Christmas day (aka meat!) is the obvious one, with Easter (aka chocolate!) as a close runner-up but my personal favorite is the most humble of the lot… Shrove Tuesday (aka pancakes!). This year I was more than happy to receive a special gift to help us get started from the lovely people at Warburtons. We were sent over a #pancakepossibilities box with all that we needed to make pancake day as fun and delicious as possible.
So last Sunday morning the four of us sat down to a special breakfast all in the name of ‘test running’ pancake day. We had everything the box offered up (marmite, mint, chilli jam, chocolate, pistachios, pancetta, granola, banana and feta to name a few) plus our own favorites that I thought might help the littles along.
Francesca got the ball rolling with a peanut butter smeared pancake topped with hundreds and thousands… usually I wouldn’t exactly encourage a sugar rush pre 8am but this was in the name of science! My favourite was whipped cream with pistachios. Dean favoured chilli jam and chocoalte, while Georgiana stuck with a classic mushy banana. Once we’d all had a round of ‘normal’ pancakes I let Frankie run wild with the toppings which resulted in some ‘interesting’ combinations… mint, coconut, bananas and grape anyone?
I am now really looking forward to the day itself, we are all ready to tackle another mound of pancakes tomorrow and feel like we’ve undergone the ultimate preparation for it! What’s your families weird pancake combos? Does anyone dare try one of Warburton’s #pancakepossibilities?
At the beginning of the year I wrote about having a calm 2014 and so far I think we are doing pretty well. Two months in and we are yet to have a crisis, although discovering our 2 year old sofa was slowly dying on us came close. We have even managed to do some pretty big jobs in our house (with lots of help from my Dad!) like finally take down our broken, dirty wooden blinds and replace them with beautiful double layered curtains in the living room, and update the shoddym dangerous looking lights in our kitchen. Very exciting!
We’ve got a really busy month coming up in March; birthday parties, a weekend away for me and Frankie, and the girls first holiday without us. I thought it’d be a good idea to have something happy to look at when things are getting a bit hectic… so here is our first 2 months of 2014!
Frankie and Dean painting / Georgie giggles at music club / Midway through taking up the new curtains / Brand new hair for me! / Prosecco fuelled gossiping with a lovely friend / My girls having a cuddle
Georgie’s crazy Bam Bam hair / More smiles from the smallest / Popcorn and tea / Homemade bird feeders courtesy of Fran / Gingerbread men / Valentine’s Day crafting
Cuddles with my best girls / Preschool run funtimes / My Frankiepants Dancing Queen / Wine wine wine / A familiar sight – G’s #floordinner / Umm more wine!
More dancing! / Finally blue skies / Small people dinner parties / Mantle piece / Helping a friend / Poached eggs heaven
Lunch date in a tearoom / Sausage sandwiches / Pretty lunchtimes / Bathtime thug kids / Francesca’s beautiful writing / Banana cake
Baking butterscotch cupcakes / Changing bag essentials / My favorite people / Morning Francesca cuddles / A chilly preschool run / My gorgeous posing big girl
When Georgiana was born I really wanted to make sure that Francesca still felt special. I was very aware that her sister would be getting lots of new things like clothes and toys, and some of her special ‘old things’ like her pushchair and cot. Some things I knew Francesca would give away easily, for example she was beyond excited about her new bed so didn’t think twice about her cot being moved in to Georgie’s nursery.
Some things I had a feeling would be harder though. And when the time to came to move Georgiana from a Group 0 carseat up to a Group 1 the first flashes of jealousy started to peak through. Frankie treats her carseat like a throne and has always been very vocal about the fact that hers is for a ‘big girl’ and Georgie’s is for a baby. We decided that maybe this new purchase should be for Francesca so we started a search for something she would adore.
I was immediately drawn to the really bright colours of Cosatto and Francesca quickly fell in to love with them too. Then we had to decide between a Group 1 and a Group 123. Looking back now I wish we’d bought a the latter so that Frankie could stay in this carseat once she turns 4 but at the time we weren’t thinking past the next few months.
The Group1 that we ended up with is fantastic though. So so so spacious, Frankie will be really comfy in there right up until 4. The pattern is gorgeous and as it has a removable seat pad it doesn’t matter if there are any spillages. It was also really easy to set up. We’ve had a bad experience in the past with an IMPOSSIBLE to install carseat which resulted in lots of frustrated tears and a long call to customer services. This took less than 10 minutes to put in the first time, and now we’ve had it for a while I can switch it between cars in minutes. The biggest bonus was that Argos had an amazing deal on so we ended up with a stunning, functional carseat for less than £100!
Our Cosatto Moova is now Francesca’s highlight of any car journey – you can see this carseat in another colourway here I am so tempted to get Georgiana that one so they both have gorgeous colourful seats! And I’m sure we’ll be getting the next stage from them too.
Does your little one treat their carseat or pushchair like a throne too? Francesca is of the opinion that she’s a Princess riding in a carriage in hers ;)
When we bought our pile of bricks just over 2 years ago we had BIG plans. And to be fair we’ve (read: Dean) executed some of the big’uns when we first moved in and before I fell pregnant with Georgiana. The biggest job – our kitchen – has been started and then stopped twice now though. Money, a pregnancy that wouldn’t stick to the book and time all have got in the way of a brand new kitchen.
Recently I’ve realised that even though the actual kitchen isn’t my favorite thing in the house (or even in the top 10) some of the little bits are lovely. So here’s an self indulgent mini tour of my bestest kitchen bits…
The humongous light pendants are actually a very recent development thanks to my amazing Dad (who also made us the wooden board up there in the pictures as well). We finally got rid of some very dodgy wire rope lights that attracted endless dust and looked like an electrical fault waiting to happen, and replaced them with these beauties.
We still have a long list of things to make improvements on in this kitchen but for now I’ll be enjoying all the little things that are just right with it!
When I fell pregnant with Francesca back in 2010 it was a pretty massive shock. We were doing all the ‘right’ things in order for us to not get pregnant and we’d only been together for 9 months. The day that I peed on a stick and my life changed forever was a weird one. My thoughts and feelings were firstly practical, then emotional and lastly purely hysterical which all culminated in a very tearful announcement of my pregnancy to a slightly bemused (but supportive) Dean.
One of the few things that didn’t whizz through my head that day was my age. At the time I was 21, by the time Francesca would arrive I’d be 22. My Mum and Dad got pregnant with me (their eldest) when my Mum was 19 – in fact by the time my Mum was 23 they’d had all 3 of her children, it just didn’t occur to me that having a child in the first few years of my twenties would be seen as anything but entirely normal. Dean is 11 years older than me, so at the time was 32 – a pretty average age to have children – most of our friends were a similar age to him so we were often surrounded by kids at BBQs and in pub gardens. It was only around halfway through my pregnancy that I realised that apart from 1 person I didn’t have any of my ‘own’ friends to talk to about all this weird stuff that was happening to my body and hormones!
I remember sitting in antenatal class and looking around a room of women who were all around a decade older than me, for the first time it hit me that maybe making friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I first thought. I actually did actively try to get along with people but I found that I had very little in common with most other Mums-to-be at these groups. I guess it didn’t help that pregnancy wasn’t something we had tried for and I still was getting my head around the idea. All these women were just overjoyed to be pregnant and could talk about nipple cream and epidurals all day whereas I still wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of being someones Mama.
Once I had Francesca I assumed I would just slot in to baby groups and all the confidence I had pre-baby would come rushing back. Where we lived didn’t really have many groups, I would walk to one held in a local school hall, sit in the corner with my baby that refused to breatfeed and feel embarrassed. Embarrassed that they all seemed to know how to talk to other Mums, embarrassed that I was scooping formula while they were offering nipple, embarrassed that I didn’t have a wedding ring on, embarrassed that I looked about 15 and embarrassed that I’d walk there with my overpriced pushchair instead of arriving by car. I was desperate to wear a giant badge that stated facts about me – ‘I own a house! I’m in a long term relationship! My boyfriend is an accountant! I know that breast is best but this bloody baby doesn’t like my boobs!!!!!’.
I’m sure if I’d been 5 or 10 years older I’d of waltzed in there with my ringless finger and Tommee Tippee bottles, and just started chatting to the nearest Mum who looked as lonely as me – but I had so many preconceptions in my own of what people would think of me that I just didn’t give anyone a chance to prove me wrong!
Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a couple of weird instances where my age has definitely sparked a conversation that I’d prefer not to have. I’ve been horribly patronised on countless occasions, I even had one other Mum tell me I would regret not ‘living my youth for myself’ and I’ve had a raised eyebrow or two when I’ve admitted the age gap in my relationship.
What I’ve really learnt over the past (nearly 4!) years is that, as a parent, if you’re out to make please everyone else happy with your parenting you really can’t win. As a younger Mum it is often assumed that you’ve had your baby so that you can gain benefits and get a house. As a normal aged Mum you can often be lumped with the ‘boring’ label by your friends who have decided that kids aren’t for them yet. As an older Mum you can often be called selfish. In reality 99% of Mamas out there are amazing – we do everything we can for our babies and make decisions as best we can.
I really feel I have settled in to the role of Mama to Frankie and Georgie recently, we’re happy and I guess that’s all the matters.
Francesca: Would happily eat Ikea hotdogs for 3 meals a day. Loves making farms and zoo’s with her Duplo. Really enjoys taking pictures with the phone Auntie Sofie has let her use.
Georgiana: Is really taking to life on her feet. Cuddles toy babies for hours and pats there back saying ‘ahh baby’. Seems less and less like our own little baby, but more and more like a toddler everyday.
We are big big big fans of Gap in this house. I would estimate that 90% of my wardrobe is made up o their tops and sweaters, almost all my socks are Gap (I swear they have the comfiest socks ever!) and I’ve even been known to find the elusive ‘perfect’ pair of jeans there! And ofcourse a lot of the girls clothes are from my favorite bit of the shop – babyGap. Last year I got very excited when they released a limited edition Peter Rabbit collection but sadly Francesca was just a tiny bit too big for it and Georgiana was still quite poorly so was living in babygrows – I was utterly gutted to miss out on such gorgeous clothes but ended up managing to nab one of the gorgeous knit hoodies with little ears – delicious!
This year babyGap have teamed up with another family favorite, Paddington Bear. I adore this collection and love the fact that the boys and girls ranges are both extremely unisex. I hadn’t even noticed that they’d split them in to sections on the website until I started bookmarking stuff. Here is our ‘Top 10′ items – I would of added everything but am trying to show some kind of restraint when buying for the girls wardrobes after the huge pile of gladrags they were given for Christmas!
+ Polka Dot One Piece [£14.95] Georgiana always has something like this in her wardrobe, I am particularly a big fan of the frilly shoulders. Plus I think the price of this is amazing!
+ Polka Dot Body Double [£19.95] I always like the body doubles as it stops unnecessary layering when it’s warm. I’m really put off by the price though. Nearly £20 for a body suit or t-shirt seems excessive to me.
+ Bear Marled Hoodie [£17.95] I am loving this years take on last year’s, much loved rabbit ears hoodie.
+ Printed Toddle Poncho [£24.95] I think this will be the one that sells out quickest! I wouldn’t say it’s the best piece for a young baby but perfect for a toddler in the spring.
+ Rain Boots [£19.95] How gorgeous are these wellies!?! I am so excited to get Georgie’s first pair for Spring walks – I just wish they did them in proper shoe sizes instead of ages.
+ Printed Leggings [£6.95] The baby and toddler leggings from Gap have always been my favorite so ofcourse I love these stripe leggings, I think they’ll look lovely paired with the hoodie above.
+ Printed Bucket Hat [£6.95] Oddly the thing I love to buy the most for girls each summer is a proper sun hat, this one is adorable!
+ Bear Tag Bodysuit [£7.95] If you’re going to be buying from the Paddington Bear collection then surely this is a must have.
+ Mary Jane Sneakers [£12.95] These are already in my basket. I love this style of shoe for the girls in the summer. And they’re £12.95 – amazing!
+ Flower Skinny Jeans [£14.95] Just because there are few things cuter than a chunky toddler in knit-waist skinny jeans!
What are you’re favorite pieces? I am keeping my fingers crossed that one of the pregnant ladies I know at the moment is cooking a boy so I can indulge in that range too!
Francesca: Obsessed with Wotsits. Would spend all day playing games on the CBeebies website if I let her. Loves hearing her sister talk so is very encouraging. Loves reading ‘The Dinosaur that pooped a planet’ every day.
Georgiana: Really, properly walking now. Loves taking centre stage at Music Club by showing off her newfound dance moves. Adores playing peek-a-boo under Mummy’s scarf.
Francesca: Had a great time taking the train to Auntie Sofie’s house. Loves to apply ‘lip-balm-stick’ 50 times a day. Went to the zoo and loved seeing the baby giraffe. Scooted all the way to music club for the first time.
Georgiana: Has taken lots of steps. Decided that grapes are her new favorite food. Would happily play with musical instruments all day. Still isn’t sleeping well but is happy happy happy all the time. Has a new word: baby.
Francesca: suddenly camera shy. Has found a new hobby in hiding Mama’s bank cards. Enjoying days in PJs. Rediscovering a love for her wooden kitchen. Had the ‘best sleepover ever!’ at Nana’s and Morfar’s house this weekend.
Georgiana: struggling to get these toothy pegs to come through, one more has appeared! Waking atleast every 2 and a half hours in the night. Finally taken her first independent steps – woohoo! Starting to appreciate cuddles once again.